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Elk Grove Citizen

Say YES! to Youth Employment in Citrus Heights

Jan 26, 2023 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Thomas J. Sullivan

Left: Gabriel Windsor, a youth whose internship at MealPro in Citrus Heights is being funded by the YES program of PRIDE Industries; center - Jeff Dern, president and chief executive officer, PRIDE Industries; right: Carlos Perez, work force inclusion manager for youth services, PRIDE Industries.

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - PRIDE Industries of Roseville has opened its new Youth Employment Services (YES!) program in the newly reopened Career Hub on 7011 Sylvan Road in Citrus Heights. The hub celebrated its reopening last week after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic where YES! will be its signature program, said Jeff Dern, its president and chief executive officer.

Dern and Dr. Jennifer Camota-Luebke, PRIDE Industries chief workforce inclusion officer were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony in Citrus Heights with Carlos Perez, a work force inclusion manager for youth services.

Gabriel Windsor, an intern at MealPro, a meal preparation and delivery service in Citrus Heights also spoke and especially thanked those who helped him obtain his internship and the support he received through the YES! Program.

The YES! program is designed to assist people aged 16-24 in Sacramento and Placer counties, giving them critical skills which they need to succeed in their chosen careers and to live independently. The Career Hub also helps adults with disabilities train for and secure employment.

PRIDE Industries and Crossroads Diversified Services, Inc., two leaders in providing employment training, support, and job creation for people with disabilities recently combined operations. Their Sylvan Road offices were formerly known as Sacramento Works. Representatives describe PRIDE’s expertise in serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as blending well with Crossroads’ specialty in mental health-related disabilities resulting in what they said will be enhanced employment training and support services for people with disabilities.

“We’re excited to re-open the Career Hub and resume offering a comprehensive range of county, state and federally funded programs to youth and adults with disabilities and other barriers to employment,” said Dr. Jennifer Camota-Luebke. “The addition of the Youth Employment Services Program will allow us to provide employment preparation and on-the-job support specifically tailored to young adults.

“Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for opportunity youth where we can bring all much-needed services together under one roof where we can create a seamless training and support experience for program participants,” she said.

The YES! program was funded by grants from multiple philanthropic and governmental organizations, including the Kelly Foundation, Teichert Foundation, Walter S. Johnson, Our Little Light Foundation, Golden One, U.S. Bank of Northern California, the City of Citrus Heights through a community block grant.

“We’re grateful for and acknowledge all of our community partners and sponsors who contributed over $450,000 to help launch this program which will help so many in this community,” Dern said in his opening remarks.

It’s estimated that there are 2,000 such youth in Sacramento and Placer counties,” said Carlos Perez, work force inclusion manager for youth services at PRIDE Industries.

“Our peer employment specialists will be able to connect with program participants through shared experiences, enabling us to help this young population where they need it the most,” he said.

Some 20 to 25 staff members will help participants in its YES! program who are between the ages of 16-24 who have disabilities, Camota-Luebke said. Certified peer employment specialists are trained to facilitate the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), a proven and powerful process to help individuals create the life and wellness they want.

The program also provides services to young people who have spent time in the child welfare, juvenile justice, or criminal legal systems, as well as those who are unhoused, living in concentrated poverty, or facing other barriers to employment.

Opening ceremonies also included a tour of the facility with young individuals utilizing YES! Services.

The YES! program is independently funded through a grant from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation. Services include soft skills and vocational training, job search guidance and placement opportunities. Job support services include work transportation, employee liaison services, on-the-job coaching, mentoring, counseling, continuing education and full and part-time paid internships.

Youth and organizations supporting youth interested in participating in the YES! program should visit the Career Hub or call 916-676-2540 or contact PRIDE Industries I AM ABLE Helpline at 844-426-2253. Learn more at

PRIDE Industries is located in the newly-re-opened Career Hub at 7011 Sylvan Road in Citrus Heights.